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  • Rikki Lambert

Relief on barley, wine China sanctions on the agenda

From left: Premier Andrews at 2019 Chinese New Year with then Labor leader Bill Shorten and PM Morrison

Australia is hoping to take another step in the reduction of trade sanctions imposed by Beijing as an assistant minister prepares to head to China.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he's still hopeful of clearing Chinese trade sanctions on Australian goods despite Beijing being critical of his announcement to acquire nuclear submarines.

Assistant Trade Minister Tim Ayres will travel to China on Tuesday to discuss clean energy and trade.

It paves the way for Trade Minister Don Farrell to visit China after he accepted an invitation from his Chinese counterpart.

Mr Albanese said it was important to keep dialogue channels open.

"There have been some changes to the impediments that were there in our trade already. So there is progress.
"It's a good thing that governments are talking. Dialogue is always a positive thing to occur in our region and throughout the world."

Senator Ayres will travel to China for this year's Bo'ao Forum for Asia dialogue, leading a business delegation that includes mining billionaire Andrew Forrest and Treasury Wine Estates chief executive Tim Ford.

Senator Farrell held a virtual meeting with his Chinese counterpart last month and Foreign Minister Penny Wong visited Beijing in December.

Hear the full interview with Senator Farrell including his reflections on his chat with the Chinese trade minister on the Flow podcast player below:

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will also jet off on a separate trip to China this week.

China maintains trade sanctions worth $20 billion on exports.

Last meeting with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in January, Senator Ayres said he looked forward to discussing how to leverage opportunities in the "fastest-growing region in human history".

"China is Australia's largest trading partner and the Albanese government continues to advocate for the timely and full resumption of trade to China, which is in the interests of both countries.
"My participation in the forum is the first for an Australian government minister since 2016 and is another important step in the stabilisation of Australia's relations with China."

Senator Ayres said he would use a panel discussion on the future of clean energy to spruik Australia's climate change action and vast supply of the natural resources needed to decarbonise economies.

He said this left Australia "well-positioned to seize the economic and jobs opportunities presented by the global clean energy transformation".

China has staunchly opposed Australia's plan to acquire nuclear powered submarines through the AUKUS alliance with the US and UK.

Beijing says the acquisition will spark an arms race in the region, breaks Australia's nuclear non-proliferation requirements and engages a "Cold War mentality".

Canberra says it is fully compliant with its non-proliferation commitments.


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